Page images

Amidst our barren rocks, and burning fands,
That does not tremble at the Roman name?

Gods! where's the worth that sets this people up
Above our own Numidia's tawny fons!
Do they with tougher finews bend the bow?
Or flies the jav❜lin fwifter to its mark,
Launch'd from the vigour of a Roman arın !
Who like our active African instructs
The fiery fteed, and trains him to his hand?
Or guides in troops th' embattled elephants,
Loaden with war? thefe, these are arts, my prince,
In which your Zama does not stoop to Rome.


Thefe all are virtues of a meaner rank,
Perfections that are plac'd in bones and nerves.
A Roman foul is bent on higher views:
To civilize the rude unpolish'd world,
And lay it under the restraint of laws;
To make man mild, and fociable to man;
To cultivate the wild licentious favage
With wisdom, difcipline, and lib'ral arts;
The embellishments of life: Virtues like these,
Make human nature shine, reform the foul,
And break our fierce barbarians into men.


Patience, kind heav'ns!-excufe an old man's warmth.

What are thefe wond'rous civilizing arts,
This Roman polish, and this fmooth behaviour,


That render man thus tractable and tame ?
Are they not only to disguise our paffions,
To fet our looks at variance with our thoughts,
To check the starts and fallies of the soul,
And break off all its commerce with the tongue?
In short, to change us into other creatures,
Than what our nature and the gods design'd us?

Toftrike thee dumb, turn up thy eyes to Cato!
There may'st thou see to what a godlike height
The Roman virtues lift up mortal man.

While good, and juft, and anxious for his friends,
He's ftill feverely bent against himself;
Renouncing fleep, and reft, and food, and eafe,
He strives with thirst and hunger, toil and heat;
And when his fortune fets before him all
The pomps and pleasures that his foul can with,
His rigid virtue will accept of none.


Believe me, prince, there's not an African
That traverses our vaft Numidian defarts
In queft of prey, and lives upon his bow,
But better practises thefe boasted virtues.
Coarfe are his meals, the fortune of the chace,
Amidst the running ftream he flakes his thirst,
Toils all the day, and at th' approach of night
On the first friendly bank he throws him down,
Or refts his head upon a rock 'till morn;


Then rifes fresh, purfues his wonted game,
And if the following day he chance to find
A new repaft, or an untafted fpring,
Bleffes his ftars, and thinks it luxury.

Thy prejudices, Syphax, won't difcern
What yirtues grow from ignorance and choice,
Nor how the hero differs from the brute.

But grant that others cou'd with equal glory • Look down on pleasures, and the baits of sense; • Where thall we find the man that bears affliction,

[ocr errors]

Great and majeftic in his griefs, like Cato?

Heay'as! with what ftrength, what fteadiness of mind


He triumphs in the midst of all his fuff'rings! 'How does he rife against a load of woes,

And thank the gods that throw the weight upon him! SYPHAX.

'Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness of foul : "I think the Romans call it Stoicifm?

Had not your royal father thought fo highly
Of Roman virtue, and of Cate's caufe,

He had not fall'n by a flave's hand, inglorious;
Nor would his flaughter'd army now have lain
On Afric's fands, disfigur'd with their wounds,
the wolves and vultures of Numidia.

Why dost thou call my forrows up afresh?
My father's naine brings tears into my eyes.




Oh, that you'd profit by your father's ills!


What wou'd'ft thou have me do?


Abandon Cato.


Syphax, I fhou'd be more than twice an orphan By fuch a lofs.


Ay, there's the tie that binds you!

You long to call him father. Marcia's charms
Work in your heart unseen, and plead for Cato.
No wonder you are dead to all Ifay.

Syphax, your zeal becomes importunate; I've hitherto permitted it to rave,

And talk at large; but learn to keep it in,

Left it should take more freedom than I'll give it.


Sir, your great father never us'd me thus.
Alas, he's dead! But can you e'er forget
The tender forrows and the pangs of nature,
The fond embraces, and repeated bleffings,
Which you drew from him in your last farewel?
Still muft I cherish the dear, fad remembrance,
At once to torture, and to please my soul.


The good old king at parting wrung my hand,
(His eyes brimfull of tears) then fighing cry'd,
Pr'ythee be careful of my fon!--his grief
Swell'd up fo high he could not utter more..


Alas, thy ftory melts away my foul.
That best of fathers! how shall I discharge
The gratitude and duty which I owe him!

By laying up his.counfels in your heart.

His counfels bade me yield to thy directions :
Then, Syphax, chide me in feverest terms,
Vent all thy paffions, and I'll stand its fhock,
Calm and unruffled as a fummer fea,

When not a breath of wind flies o'er its furface.

Alas, my prince, I'd guide you to your fafety.

I do believe thou would'ft: but tell me how?

Fly from the fate that follows Cefar's foes.

My father fcorn'd to do it.


And therefore dy'd.


« EelmineJätka »